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This New 49-Foot Gladiator Blends Speed of Sportboat With the Comfort of a Cruiser

The Rome-built Canados 490 Gladiator promises to inject a little spice into the sportboat market.

Canados 490 Gladiator is a go-fast sportboat that is new to the US market. Courtesy Canados Yachts

Canados has been building yachts in Rome since 1946. As a result, the Italian builder is able to pour nearly 80 years of accumulated wisdom into its ten-boat lineup. The Gladiator name is appropriate given the Roman connection, but even more so because these Italian sportboats are built to go fast, really fast.

The 493 Grand is one of three—alongside a 411 and 431—that has been introduced to the US market by Fort Lauderdale’s SLT Collection. We had a chance to step aboard for a close look recently at the West Palm Beach show. The 49-foot, 4-inch-long hull is long, open and lithe like most US sportboats, but carries itself differently. It’s curvy and muscular-looking at the same time. It’s also designed with power options that include both inboard and outboard engines.

It’s hard to categorize this two-stateroom vessel. It’s either a heavily sport-influenced cruiser, or perhaps a cruiser-influenced sportboat. It walks a fine line between categories but, in the end, it doesn’t matter since its lightning speed and svelte profile set it apart from competitors. With triple 600 horsepower Mercurys, Canados says the boat can hit 70 mph. A more fuel-efficient, but still speedy cruise of 40 mph can get the boat from Fort Lauderdale to Miami’s Key Biscayne in under an hour. That’s usually faster than driving a car.

Canados 490 Gladiator is a go-fast sportboat that is new to the US market.
The 50-footer can reach a 70-mph top speed. Courtesy Canados Yachts

One reason for the boat’s high velocity is its relatively light weight. It displaces a 29,800 pounds, in part due to the generous use of carbon fiber, from the sunshade poles to the dashboard to the hardtop to even the sink in the head.

Even with that speed, the 493 is actually pretty beamy for its length, measuring 13-feet, 11-inches. The width allowed Canados to add in genuine creature comforts. The cockpit feels expansive, with a three-person sunpad in the aftermost section that also conceals stowage areas stacked on top of each other—one for lines and smaller items, and another below with space for a generator and Quick gyrostabilizer, as well as room for dive-tank racks or Seabobs.

Wide sidedecks lead forward to a bow lounge with three ergonomic seats. Wisely, the designers added gunwale handhelds from the cockpit to the tip of the boat. The cream-colored, synthetic-teak, Esthec sole is another nice touch since the floor won’t burn bare feet in the sun.

Canados 490 Gladiator is a go-fast sportboat that is new to the US market.
The open stern. Courtesy Canados Yachts

The 493’s beaminess also shines in the accommodations below. The forepeak master has a queen-sized berth in a space with more than six feet of headroom. The cabin is outfitted in soft leathers and wood veneers available in 20 varieties (the high-gloss silver oak on the boat we toured offered a cool, Euro aesthetic). The guest stateroom amidships seemed almost too big for a boat of this type, offering standing headroom as well.

With the space, thoughtful design elements and unbridled speed, this 49-foot Gladiator promises to be the Italian stallion in American marinas, blowing past anything else in its class.

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